Hill Forts of Jaipur – Jewels of Aravali

‘The duality in the Rajput character was really astonishing. On the one hand he was a grim warrior, forever ready to draw his sword taking the cruelty, horror and pain of war in his stride. On the other hand he was gentle, warm in his hospitality, a lover of music and dance, and kind to…

The Port of Ghogha – Where India met Arabs

Gulf of Khambhat previously known as the Gulf of Cambay had been India’s magnet to pull ideas and resources throughout the history. Situated between the Saurashstra Peninsula and the mainland of Gujarat, it receives drainage from a number of rivers, the prominent ones being  Narmada, Tapi and Mahi Sagar and has the highest known tidal…

Betwa – Flowing in the Heart of India

In the annals of Indian history, rivers occupy a special place. Revered as deities by Hindus, rivers mobilized resources, ideas and agricultural wealth. If there is something that strongly characterizes the idea of India, it is her endless river system. The very name ‘India’ or ‘Hind’ has been derived from the river Indus, first cited…

Karez System of Bidar – A Persian Oasis in Deccan

Water is very important for survival and in arid regions, it is more precious than gold. In 6th century BCE, when India was heralding a spiritual renaissance, the inhabitants of arid Iran were busy building Qanat or Karez system to tap deep alluvial aquifers and channel the water along an underground tunnel often over many…

Deeg Palace – A Synthesis of Persian and Indian Aesthetics

Early Muslims were pioneers in establishing gardens and fountains. With miles and miles of barren land and desert sand in sight, they envisaged their gardens as the proverbial oasis, a cool place to relax and reflect. This is how the concept of Charbagh or Chaharbagh gardens came into existence in the Islamic world and can…

Splendours of Orchha – Myths and Realities

A popular story goes – In the remote history Virabhadra was the King of Kashi. One of his sons was Jagdas. After being denied a share in Kashi kingdom, Jagadas came to the shrine of Goddess Vindhyavasini and engaged in a long tapasya to seek her blessings. After failing to evoke response, he decided to…

Toranas, Brackets and Mughal-Rajput Arches through Time

Culture is a dynamic process which continuously evolves and changes through interaction with other cultures, climate change and political and economic shifts. However, in most cases we do not appreciate the dynamic nature of culture and instead stick to our own ideas believing that they are supreme and pure. By doing so, we don’t appreciate how other…

Chanderi – Where Weaving meets Sufi Mysticism

‘A dervish is a friend of God And a friend of a friend is a friend So if you don’t know how to be a friend of God, Try to be a friend of a dervish’ Chishtiyya is one of the four main streams of Sufi Islam worldwide. Though Chishtiyya had originated in Afghanistan in…

Qutb Shahi Monuments of Hyderabad – Pearls of Deccan

  In the history of Indian Subcontinent, 15th and 16th centuries were two remarkable centuries. It was the era when fusion of Indian and Persian/Central Asian cultures and art reached to its climax. The region of Deccan bore maximum fruits of these cultural synthesis. The rulers of Bahamani dynasty which laid the foundation of this…

Bundi Fort – A Confluence of Ideas

In Southeastern Rajasthan, on the lap of Aravali lies Bundi, a picturesque Rajput fortified town. The territory was settled in the 13th and 14th centuries AD by Hada Rajputs, a sub-group of Chauhan Dynasty that migrated from Nadol in Pali District following its defeat by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak in 1197 AD. Till 16th Century, there was…